This is another one I chose primarily to help me with my Spanish, but I actually had high hopes for this Mexican film, as it is the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever in the U.S. What a disappointment!
Valentin (Eugenio Derbez) is an aimless ladies’ man in Acapulco, working his way through a string of beautiful tourists and avoiding responsibility as best he can. Everything changes when one of his old flings, Julie, (Jessica Lindsey) shows up with his child, then abandons the baby girl with him. Valentin pursues the mother back to L.A., but with no English and only her first name and a single picture to work from, he has no luck. Instead, he lands a job as a Hollywood stunt-man. He spends the next seven years as a dedicated father to Maggie (Loreto Peralta), until Julie turns up to once again shake up their lives.
The humor is broad, but the actresses who play Maggie at various ages are charming, and the chemistry between Derbez and Peralta makes the first half of the film fairly enjoyable. Then Julie shows up again, and the melodrama starts. From that point on, it starts to feel like a telenovela, and the ending is unforgivably sappy. I actually felt angry at the filmmakers by the end for their crude sentimentality.
The ending of “Instructions not Included” is so bad that it ruined the whole movie for me. I can’t explain why it was so popular other than that people will watch anything if you sell it to them hard enough.
1 star out of 5